Level 3  NCEA:

  • A booklet detailing the School’s NCEA Assessment policy will be provided to students and parents at the beginning of the year.
  • Reporting of results will be on progress towards an NCEA Level 3 Certificate.  Students will gain an award of Achieved, Achieved with Merit, or Achieved with Excellence, for each Standard and Achieved for Unit Standards.
  • All subjects will offer at least 18 credits in their course.
  • Some subjects because of their nature, suit assessment by Unit Standard better than Standards. Details of this are included in subject notes. Unit Standards each have a credit value which counts towards an NCEA Level 3 Certificate.


Entry Criteria to Year 13:

  • It is considered that at least 12 credits in a subject at Level 2 is the minimum prerequisite for study at Year 13.
  • Mathematics has a higher prerequisite and students should make sure they have achieved the entry requirement for Level 3 study. Exceptions require the approval of the Deputy Principal or Principal in consultation with the HOD Maths.
  • Where a subject is not available at Year 12, or a student has not previously studied the subject in Year 12, entry to the course must be approved by the HOD and the Deputy Principal or Principal.
  • For some students, who may wish to remain at school for a Year 13 year, bit do not wish to prepare a full Year 13, Level 3 course, an individual programme of five subjects/courses will be developed after discussion with the Year 13 Dean. This may involve a combination of Year 12 and Year 13 subjects, or Level 2 and Level 3 standards. It is also possible that an alternative programme offered by external providers, could be undertaken.

University Entrance:

NCEA Scholarship:

  • Scholarship is a monetary award to recognise top students.  It does not attract credits nor contribute towards a qualification, but if you gain a Scholarship it will appear on your Record of Learning.
  • If you wish to enter Scholarship you must enter for both Level 3 and Scholarship Standards to ensure you gain University Entrance and your Level 3 National Certificate.
  • Scholarship is assessed against separate, challenging Standards, and will be demanding for the most able students in each subject.   You need to be capable of high-level critical thinking, abstraction and generalisation, and be able to integrate, synthesise and apply knowledge, skills, understanding and ideas to complex situations.


The Arts


Health and Physical Education






Social Sciences













Youth Pathways offers a range of courses based in the six vocational pathways (creative industries, service sector, primary industries, manufacturing and technology, construction and  infrastructure or social and community services). A range of options are on offer at Level 2 and 3, in Business and Retail, Computing, Sustainability and Outdoors, Food Processing, Hair and Beauty, and Automotive. While these courses are useful stepping stones towards a future career, they can also provide a taster opportunity, allowing students to sample an area of interest.

Students who are interested in pursuing courses at Ara enter the Dual Enrolment programme, this means they are enrolled as a full time student at Craighead and as a part time student at Ara. Courses for Dual Enrolment programmes begin in early February. And generally offer 20 credits. The joint nature of this programme allows students to achieve NCEA Level 2 or NCEA Level 3 with a  vocational pathway.

For more information about this pathway please contact Mrs Campbell in the Careers Office

To view the Youth Pathways Brochure 2018 please follow this link http://www.ara.ac.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/189871/Youth-Pathways-Brochure-2018.pdf

New Zealand Qualifications

The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)

The National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) is the main qualification for secondary school students in Aotearoa, New Zealand. NCEA is recognised by employers, and used for selection by universities and polytechnics, both in New Zealand and overseas. There are three levels of NCEA Certificate, depending on the difficulty of the standards being achieved. Student generally work through Level 1-3 in Years 11 – 13. These levels reflect the National Qualifications Framework Levels 6-8.

 NCEA is a national qualification on the  New Qualifications Framework. Standards that secondary students achieve as part of the NCEA can be used as building blocks for other qualifications. It challenges  student of all abilities across all levels in all Learning Areas, and shows credits and grades  for separate skills  and knowledge.

 Achievement Standards

Each year students study  a number of courses or subjects. Each subject is assessed against a set of Achievement Standards, some of these are internally assessed and some externally assessed. When a student achieves a standard they gain the credits linked with that standard. Students must gain a specified number of credits in order to gain their NCEA certificate.

In achievement standards, students can gain one of four grades – Not Achieved, Achieved, Achievement with Merit, Achievement with Excellence. Each achievement standard describes what student have to do  to reached Achieved, Merit or Excellence. The standard, or the level of work required, is demonstrated in exemplars provided by NZQA.

 Merit and Excellence grades require a significant step up  from what is needed at Achievement Level.  Only those students  who meet  the criteria for Merit and Excellence Level get those grades. The proportions of those  gaining Merit and Excellence change little from year to year. Generally around  25% of students achieve Merit grades and approximately  14% attain Excellence grades.

 NCEA Level 1

To attain Level 1 students need to gain 80 credits. Included in these 80 credits, students need to gain 10 Literacy credits and 10 Numeracy credits. There are a wide range of  achievement standards  that have been identified as eligible to meet literacy  and numeracy requirements at Level 6 of the Curriculum.

NCEA Level 2

To attain Level 2 students need to gain 60 Level 2 credits, 20 of these can come from Level 1 or 3 standards. The literacy  and numeracy requirements  must also be met for students to achieve Level 1.

 NCEA Level 3

To attain Level 3 students need to gain 60 Level 3 credits, 20 of these can come from Level 3 standards. Credits gained at one level can be used for (or count towards) more than one certificate.

 University Entrance

University Entrance (UE)  is the minimum requirement  to go to a New Zealand university. To qualify, a student needs:

  • NCEA Level 3
  • Three subjects at Level 3, made up of:
    • 14 credits each, in three approved subjects.
  • Literacy – 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of:
    • 5 credits in reading
    • 5 credits in writing
  • Numeracy – 10 credits at Level 1 or above, made up of:
    • achievement standards – specified achievement standards available through a range of subjects, or
    • unit standards – package of three numeracy  unit standards           

Credits can be accumulated over more than one year.